$55 Million Paid to Kids to Do Nothing

Records provided to CNN show that $54.5 million was spent on the NRI program, mostly through the governor’s discretionary fund, which doesn’t require legislative approval.

The only data on the program’s accomplishments come directly from the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority. The NRI states that it created more than 3,484 jobs, provided counseling for more than 3,100 children, and helped 1,175 ex-cons.  …

NRI participants were paid $8.75 an hour, first to receive mentoring from adults, and then go out to pitch positive messages and hand out fliers in their neighborhoods.  …

[S]tudents earned $8.75 an hour to visit the DuSable Museum of African American History and to the National Museum of Mexican Art.

What the ??

Why would taxpayers pay for kids to attend mentoring?  It would be like paying them to play basketball or video games or go to school.

$54.5 million / 3,484 jobs / $8.75 / hour = 1,787 hours & $15,642.94 per person.  This is nothing more than paying kids for doing the right thing.


Alderman Flip-Flops Again on Chick-fil-A

A Chicago alderman once again is threatening to block Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant in his Northwest Side ward because of the owner’s stance against gay marriage — after saying earlier that he had dropped his opposition to the fast-food outlet.

Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno, 1st, accused Dan Cathy, president of the family-owned restaurant chain, of reneging on his company’s apparent promises to issue a statement vowing to treat people of all sexual orientations with respect and no longer allow the company to contribute to groups that oppose gay marriage.

via Chicago Tribune.

In the words of Joe Biden:  Ald. Moreno was against Chick-fil-A before he was for it.

What an idiot.  All you had to do Alderman was keep your mouth shut and you wouldn’t have any of these issues.  You wouldn’t look like a fool changing your mind every two minutes and trying to blame someone for lying to you.  Stop it.  It makes you look clueless and weak.  What are you eleven years old?


Bus-Only Lanes Hurt Everybody

CTA super-express buses that will operate on 21-mile stretches of Ashland and Western avenues will have the benefit of using full-time bus-only lanes, under a still-evolving concept the transit agency and the city will present this week at three open houses, starting Tuesday.

via  Chicago Tribune.

This is just an extension of the ongoing war on vehicles & one of the dumbest ideas ever.  It makes no sense to make life more difficult for cars; which just so happen to be how most people get around.  Why punish the majority for the minority?  Some people literally must drive b/c they have to take children to school before work or otherwise travel on routes not covered by public transit.

Damen in one lane.  Halsted is one lane.  California is one lane.  It makes no sense to destroy the only two North-South arteries.  Between the bike lanes and the center islands it is getting impossible for vehicles to get around.  This includes police, fire, and EMS vehicles as well.

Lastly, what is the problem trying to be solved here?  That buses travel more slowly in traffic is not new.  It’s been that way since the invention of buses.  People on buses however can read, play with their phones, talk on the phone, send txt messages, and do all sorts of things that people in cars cannot (safely) do.  This is the advantage of taking the bus over the car… that, and the cost.

Chicago can be a great great city.  Truly world class.  But it will not become so by declaring war on vehicles which the majority of people use to get around.

Pete’s Fresh Market — Update 09/19

Reliable sources inform me that Pete’s and people from the city are sitting down and trying to work out a deal to restart construction.

Reliable sources also have confirmed the facts of the original post.

If any readers have stories of problems with any politicians please contact me privately with that information.  We have been abused by our elected officials for far too long.  Criminal elected officials are the reason why the West Side does not have the retail and other amenities of other neighborhoods.

It’s immoral, unethical, and just plain sad that the poor, who needs the most help, are the most abused.

Rumors are swirling that a community meeting may be held one day next week.  Please visit again for further information.


UPDATE:  This topic updated 09/25/2012 here.

Shakedown on the West Side

PR — For Immediate Release


One of Chicago’s food deserts may not be getting a grocery store after all.  After years of wrangling, Pete’s Fresh Market broke ground on a site located at Western & Madison on Chicago’s West Side.  Neighbors had waged a 5 year battle to bring a grocery store to that location.  Alderman Bob Fioretti was on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony.  But it all came to a screeching halt last week after the store’s owner was threatened not only by local thugs, but by the city itself.

A week ago the store’s site, exactly three miles west of the center of the city, had a construction trailer and several pieces of heavy equipment.  “They worked every day.  Even on weekends.” said a local resident who’s townhouse overlooks the site.  Sunday, the site was just another barren parcel of land which appear to cover the West Side.  The only remnant of construction is a single port-o-let.  Rumors swirl about the neighborhood whether or not construction may resume anytime soon.  Residents fear that they may have lost the only chance they had at getting a grocery store.

After an arduous process taking years, Pete’s Fresh Market was selected for the site.  Several cut-rate or second tier grocers expressed interest however neighborhood residents feared that such a business would send the wrong message.  Like many gentrifying neighborhoods it can be hard to find the right balance between long-time residents who wish to remain and keep property values, and property taxes, level and urban pioneers who are looking to see some return on their investment.  Pete’s seemed like a natural fit.  It’s selection had the support of nearly all in the neighborhood.

After the ground-breaking the neighborhood was excited about seeing their new store take shape.  Locals talked while walking their dogs, on porches and patios, and on the phone.  Emails were exchanged about everything from the construction fence going up to the equipment arriving on site.  Photos were taken and news releases sent.  “After being here for nine years I’m really looking forward to being able to walk to the grocery store.” said local resident Jim Bosco.

The situation changed last week when Pete’s got hit with a one-two punch.

First, a group of gentlemen who claim to be from the neighborhood stopped by the site and demanded jobs.  They appeared to be organized; not just a few guys walking down the street looking for work.  They came to the site, knew who to ask for, and demanded to be given jobs.  Pete’s owner happened to be on site and suggested they fill out applications for employment; he even provided them with the forms.  The group was told however that unless they were licensed, insured, and bonded that they could not be employed for construction work.  That was unacceptable to the group and they began to get loud, pushy, and generally belligerent.

When the group was asked to leave the situation escalated.  One of the group’s members brandished a handgun.  Another told Pete’s owner that if they weren’t given jobs they would break every store window after it was open.  Only after the group was informed that police had been called did they break-up and disappear into the streets and alleys.

Putting the unsettling experience behind them, Pete’s owner and the construction crew got back to work.  However a few hours later they would be interrupted again, this time by a city Streets & Sanitation inspector.  Pete’s was having a bad day; because the inspector proceeded to write Pete’s for 21 violations.

That was too much for Pete’s owner to bear.  Business owners can deal with a few bullies who are looking for a handout.  However no business can survive in this city when someone in power deliberately makes life difficult.  Given the archaic and byzantine nature of Chicago’s codes any property is subject to numerous code violations at all times.  Further, it doesn’t even matter if you’re fully in compliance.  If the city writes the violation, you have to stop/ what you’re doing and head to building court.  That takes time away from your business and is expensive.

Pete’s decided it was not wi/lling to fight city hall.  It pulled the plug on construction, removed the equipment, and now the residents question whether or not they will get their grocery store.

The local residents don’t believe in coincidences.

Thanks to the ward remapping, Pete’s is in the “old” 2nd Ward and the “new” 27th Ward.  This means that in addition to Alderman Fioretti, who spearheaded the new store, Alderman Walter Burnett is also well aware of Pete’s construction.  It also just so happens that the ring-leader of the group of thugs who showed up at Pete’s is known acquaintance of Ald. Burnett’s ASSISTANT chief of staff.  Further, those in the know have heard rumors for years about Ald. Burnett shaking down other business owners for everything from using the right valet service to hiring the right contractors.

Many local residents believe that Ald. Burnett was directly involved in the attempted extortion of Pete’s.  They wonder why it is that Burnett is able to keep his job when so many of these stories are floating around openly.  If the ward remap stands as it is, Ald. Burnett is going to have some explaining to do to folks who live in this neighborhood as to why he’s perhaps ruined their chances of getting a quality grocery store.



THIS POST UPDATED on 09/27/2012:  I learned that Ald. Burnett’s “chief of staff: was incorrect.  It was in fact Ald. Burnett’s Assistant Chief of Staff who is not only knows the thugs trying to shakedown Pete’s but WAS ACTUALLY ON SITE WITH THEM.  New post here.

Strange Pelican Brewery Coming to the West Side

For my local Chicago readers:

Under the name Strange Pelican Brewing Company, McNeil will brew about 3,000 barrels a year in a 10,000-square-foot space near the intersection of Damen Avenue and Fulton Street. Strange Pelican’s philosophy evokes maritime history – in other words, strong beers that were made to travel. While McNeil is still experimenting with recipes, he’s planning to start with two flagship beers a citrusy rye IPA and an imperial oatmeal stout brewed with a specialty roast from Bow Truss that will be available in four- or six-packs, as well as two different 22-ounce bottles and a rotating seasonal selection inspired by local grains, herbs and other ingredients.

via redeyechicago.com.

John Wayne Gacy’s Other Victims

Are there others? Bill Dorsch believes there are and he’s pretty sure he knows exactly where they’re buried. This site documents the efforts of Dorsch, a career Chicago homicide detective, to find and share new evidence in the case of the notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Gacy, who ran a small contracting company in

via John Wayne Gacy’s Other Victims.

For those of us who grew up on the Northwest Side in the ’70s this issue will likely never go away.  Interesting to see people are still looking into this case.

Naomi Davis: Issues in the African-American Community

Local community organizer Naomi Davis put together a top-ten list of issues impacting the African-American community in her area of Chicago.  Not a bad list:

  1. NORFOLK & SOUTHERN/CREATE. Opportunity Of A Lifetime.  Multi-billion, multi-decade south side economic impact with America’s richest companies without a single negotiated community benefit/jobs plan.
  2. CRIMINALIZATION OF BLACKNESS.  Gulag Economy.  Jim Crow/John Burge/Howard Morgan, and millions of our young caught up in a culture of violence without guidance, in a system designed to profit from their downfall.
  3. FORECLOSURE FRAUD TSUNAMI.  Rape & Rescue.  Three generations of wealth stripped from our community on purpose, and now investor/gentry with federal subsidies are available to help rebuild…about us without us.
  4. 50% UNEMPLOYMENT.  City of Big Shoulders & U of C.  Some of our neighbors in public housing suffer with over 90% unemployment when worker-owned cooperatives like Evergreen in Ohio successfully partner the poor with universities and government in laundries, urban ag, solar enterprises…and more.
  5. SCHOOL CLOSING & TURNAROUNDS.  Mis-education Incorporated.  Follow the money and you’ll discover the real reason for ignoring parent and community protests, while some local politicians and preachers are purchased.
  6. NEIGHBOR-OWNED BUSINESSES.  We Are Colonized.  Our wealth is extracted rather than circulated in our communities by retailers we permit to take our money without reinvesting, also siphoning out scores of millions in LINK dollars.
  7. SUFFERING SENIORS.  Limited & Isolated.  Too many own homes they can’t afford to repair on fixed incomes, and live isolated from neighborhoods while their taxes fund TIF community developments that don’t help, but hurt.
  8. SMALLER GOVERNMENT.  The Rich Get Richer.  Privatizing government work creates a fat plutocracy with often questionable net savings to the public, and eliminates middle-class incomes which stabilize us.
  9. THE BLACK TAX.  Equal Enforcement & Traffic Justice.  Note the skin color of the 99% in traffic court and the amount of money extracted from our communities in traffic camera tickets and booted vehicle revenues.
  10. POLITICAL CORRUPTION.  Chicago Is #1.  In “Leading The Pack,” UIC Professor and former Alderman Dick Simpson document what we already knew: behind-closed-doors, under-the-table, business-as-usual politics here is destroying us.

via Naomi Davis email.

I wonder what race-neutral solutions she would propose?